Last Friday, we started our first rotation on Manaslu. The goal was to make the final set-up of Camps 1 (5775 m) and 2 (6350 m). We left around 11 h in the morning to Camp 1. The ascent is relatively easy, over the rocks to Crampon Point (5150 m), where you enter the Manaslu glacier and from there mainly snowy slopes to Camp 1. The weather was not so good, foggy with light snow fall every now and then. There are a few stretches that are bit steeper but overall a fairly easy ascent. It took Pemba and myself four and a half hour to cover the 920 m up (over a distance of 4.5 km). Once we arrived at 15:30 h, the tent needed to be set up. Snow was shovelled away to get a more or less even surface for the tent. Around 17 h everything was set up. Pemba cooked dinner and we went to sleep.
Saturday morning we got up at 6 h to melt snow, make coffee and breakfast. We packed our sleeping gear (tent, sleeping bags, mattresses) and food and headed for Camp 2. The views of the glacier breach are breath-taking, but so was the climbing. The route up to Camp 2 is very steep (we climbed 665 m over a distance of less than 2 km) with several stretches going almost vertical on ice or hard snow. At a short but very steep ice wall, a sherpa got stuck kust above me (I was very happy to wear my helmet as his struggling caused a lot of ice fall down). Luckily Pemba helped him by taking off his backpack (which was hauled up separately later) and instructing him what to do. Pemba did very well as usual: half an hour later Gina fell into a crevasse and he rushed forward to get her safely out. Overall, it was a very heavy climb which took us almost 6 h and I felt exhausted when we finally reached Camp 2. Again, snow was shovelled away to set up our tent, Pemba melted lots of snow and cooked dinner. When we were about to sleep , Pemba discovered that his Nalgene bottle had been leaking and his sleeping bag was soaked. Be ended up sleeping in my down jacket with his own down jacket around his legs.
Pemba, cheerful as always
Yesterday morning we got up early again (around 6h) and after breakfast Pemba went down to fetch more materials in Camp 1 to bring ip to Camp 3. I went down alone later with the group of Mingma. We are at least a day ahead of other teams climbing Manaslu as many people climbed up while we we trying to get down causing big traffic jams at the steep spots. On the way down yo Camp 1, I met Pemba who had rushed down and was already climbing up again – he cached materials in Camp 3 and subsequently climbed down to Manaslu Base Camp, arriving well before dinner…
After quite a while, we reached Camp 1, rested a bit and then swiftly went down all te way to Manaslu Base Camp where we arrived early afternoon. The weather was splendid with a lot of sun shine which allowed us to have a bucket shower. Later that evening we celebrated Dawa’s birthday with cake. Pemba surprised me with a bottle of red wine that Namgya had asked him to carry up for me.
Today and tomorrow we have a resting day at Manaslu Base Camp, it is very sunny weather (laundry day!). We plan the second rotation Wednesday or Thursday with the summit push on September 27th.